AVC receives NSERC funding for outreach program for Indigenous youth
The Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, has been awarded $29,400 by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for a project entitled “Youth Engagement in Veterinary Medicine: A Model to Enhance Indigenous Youth Connection to STEM.”
AVC’s project is one of 86 science promotion and outreach programs funded through NSERC’s PromoScience program to engage and inspire young Canadians to develop their skills and curiosity through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). NSERC’s PromoScience program supports hands-on learning experiences that inspire the next generation of scientists and research leaders. Competition for the prestigious grant is intense with 221 applications received from across Canada.
The goal of the project is to develop interest in veterinary medicine and STEM disciplines in general among Indigenous youth, who have historically been under-represented in these fields.
There are three components to the project. AVC will expand its popular four-week Dr. Tim Ogilvie AVC Vet Camp by supporting travel, accommodations, and tuition for up to nine additional Indigenous youth from Atlantic and Northern Canada. This activity will be supplemented with two more broad-based outreach initiatives involving students in the doctor of veterinary medicine program. The new initiatives include a one-day workshop at the College to introduce Indigenous high school students to veterinary medicine. Participants will discuss career opportunities in veterinary medicine and STEM, learn about admission to AVC, and tour the College.
As well, AVC will hold outreach sessions at elementary and high schools throughout the Maritime provinces to promote interest among Indigenous students in careers in STEM disciplines. Students and teachers will learn about opportunities in veterinary medicine and STEM, and the process to enter the veterinary medicine field of study.
“We are pleased to have this opportunity to encourage Indigenous youth to explore opportunities and careers in veterinary medicine and STEM,” said Dr. Greg Keefe, dean of AVC. “Unfortunately, this year’s vet camp had to be cancelled because of COVID-19. We will initiate each aspect of the project as soon as public health restrictions allow. Fortunately, NSERC has allowed all PromoScience projects extensions to address the challenges we are all facing.”